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U.S. Involvement in Vietnam

May 07, 2000

* Having just returned from a brief visit to Vietnam, I cannot agree more with Robert Scheer's analysis of the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War (Commentary, May 2). The dreaded enemy, "communism," was part of the fabric of these people and was a nationalistic issue. A visit to Cu Chi tunnels (a network of underground tunnels built by the Viet Cong) is ample example of the resilience and the patriotism of the Vietnamese. The Viet Cong were helped by the villagers in the South and were successful in undermining the U.S. forces and ultimately winning the war.

After being controlled by the Chinese and then the French, these people were yearning for a united Vietnam. All they wanted was the freedom to lead their own lives. The victory by the North led them to a war with the Chinese, showing the world that they would not be controlled by any outside force. So the domino theory worked the opposite way.

VARINI DeSILVA

Huntington Beach

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* So Scheer thinks our actions in the Vietnam War were misguided and evil and that none of our security interests were threatened. We weren't fighting for our security interests. We were fighting for the freedom of a nation threatened by communism, just as we fought for the freedom of France and other countries during WWII.

Why doesn't Scheer turn his attention to the actions of the North Vietnamese? Why does he think there are so many "boat" people who want to escape Vietnam now that they have been "liberated"? Or how about the "killing fields" in nearby Cambodia?

Freedom is worth fighting for. Just ask anyone whose country has been overrun and conquered.

BURL ESTES

Mission Viejo

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* Scheer's attempt to connect U.S. behavior in the Vietnam War with Hannah Arendt's Holocaust writings is the strangest take on the war I have read to date. Scheer apparently thinks the likes of Lyndon Johnson and Robert S. McNamara were smart enough to be evil. Tragically misguided, yes, but evil? But wait--Scheer thinks this is denial.

GREG HUGHES

Marina del Rey

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* Scheer has given us a perspective on Vietnam. Now, perhaps, he could give us a similar article on Kosovo.

BILL SMITH

Malibu

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